Practical Vedanta, lessons on the go for busy people

A very touching element in Amma’s tours in India is the amazing fact that she still insists on traveling by road herself and to stay with the caravan of buses that travel along. The 1-day journeys from one city to another sometimes take 20 hours, the distance to cover is sometimes over 600 km; but Amma keeps it as an unwavering rule to stick to the vehicles transporting the around 500 members of the tour.

Why does she do that? Simple…
…to offer all her disciples and devotees the unforgettable memories of bhajans, satsangs, dinner moments on the side of the road, when the engines are put to rest and the drivers can recuperate from their arduous task of carrying the ‘mobile mini-ashram’ throughout the land of India.

…to make sure that all is fine and everyone is coping well with the hard and long traveling, as the buses cut across rural areas, cities, small towns and villages, crossing the borders from state to state.
…to remain close-by in case one of the buses encounters a mechanical problem or losses its way…
Couldn’t Amma simply travel on her own, reaching ahead of time and allow herself some resting hours before her next program? Shouldn’t Amma simply take a train or a flight to the next destination and avoid the added discomforts of bouncing on the Indian roads? It is painful to think about these added tapas that Amma is imposing on her body, but for Amma, these tours are spiritual pilgrimages (yatras) that she fully treats as such in every detail, applying the dharma of pilgrimage firstly on herself!


Could we imagine her not acting in this way, not forsaking her own comforts in order to please her ‘children’ and make them spiritually benefit from her presence?

Yes, the most precious and endearing moments for all those taking part in these tours are, when after long hours of day-time driving, and as the sun is setting and the atmosphere is cooling down, Amma picks a place by the side of the road and makes the group stop and rest for 2 or 3 hours… before the caravan proceeds for more long hours on the road to reach the final destination in the early hours of the next day’s morning…
Amma meditates with everyone, practices bhajans in the local language of the area that she is reaching next, serves dinner and tea, asks about everyone’s wellbeing, opens discussions about some spiritual topic that she chooses, asks some to share inspiring stories and cheerful jokes, or lead bhajans with everyone singing along enthusiastically…
In the last two stops, Amma’s question for everyone was related to performing one’s dharma and responsibilities in the ‘material’ world while keeping a loving and compassionate attitude. Making everyone reflect on the subject, people discuss about it in small groups and some get the chance to share their views in Amma’s presence… Slowly, after each one’s input, and often brief comments from Amma, she is leading us all closer to the best blend in this practical spiritual subject.


In Her last satsang Amma said, that people usually find excuses for not finding time for spiritual practices: Long working hours that consume all the day’s time and energy; preparing for a marriage; preparing for the first birth in the family; having a second child; then another child… How can they find time to care for wife or a child, when they complained that they don’t have time even when they were bachelors! It seemed that all their time was fully booked, but how could they find time for their wife and their children” Amma asked? With only one child you were complaining that there is no time. Then when you have a second child, you find time for that child too. Now your complaint is that you have 2 children and don’t have any time. But when a 3rd child comes into the family, you find time to care for that baby too. Amma wondered how is it possible. Then she said in her own typical simple but so profound and so practical way: We should treat society as another child in our family!! Then you will be able to care for others, show love and compassion. In Sanatana Dharma the creation and the creator are not two but one, like a wave and the ocean” Amma explained sitting on the roof of Amrita Vidyalayam building in Amdavad. All reflected on the wisdom and practicality of Vedanta and digest the subtle teachings while they were having the dinner Prasad served by Amma in the cold night under the moon light sky.
– Sakshi